PG School Board buys land for future school

PRAIRIE GROVE — At a special meeting on Sept. 7, the Prairie Grove School Board voted unanimously to purchase 20 acres on East Parks Street for $895,000, or $44,750 per acre. The land will be used for a second primary school.

The 20-acre tract is located adjacent to Prairie Grove United Methodist Church and across from Sundowner Estates.

The letter of intent to purchase the land states that the seller is Parkwood Estates LLC. This letter was signed by Curtis Stewart as Parkwood Principal/Member and Lance Campbell, Superintendent representing the Prairie Grove School District as the purchaser.

Assistant Superintendent David Kellogg said a geotechnical study of the land has yielded good results, and the property already has a survey on file. Kellogg did not have a specific closing date for the deal, but said it should happen within a short period of time with Waco Title Co.

Campbell told school board members that the district would purchase the land with reserve funds.

Campbell said last week that he believes the land on Parks Street is a good location for a new elementary school because of its proximity to residential housing. It is across from the Sundowner Estates subdivision and will be close to a new subdivision with more than 500 homes or multifamily units coming in the future off Butler Road.

“This results in 400 to 500 families moving out of the (current) elementary campus,” Campbell said. “Logistically, it’s a good location.”

He added that the board’s decision is a “huge step” and the district is moving in the right direction to address student growth.

The elementary school has 108 kindergarten students this year, Campbell said. The third grade is the largest in the school with 188 students.

“It’s coming (student growth) and that’s why we think we have to have a second elementary school in the future,” he said.

The district will apply this fall for state partnership funds to help with the cost of a new school, and any money will likely come during the 2025-2027 funding cycle, according to Kellogg.

The school board will consider a resolution at its Sept. 19 meeting to support a six-year master facilities plan for the district that will be submitted to the state Academic Facilities Partnership program for 2025-2027. This master plan shows a new K-4 school.

In the proposed resolution, the school board decided that it would allocate local resources to meet the district’s share of the school construction project. If approved, the state’s share will be approximately 50% of what the state considers appropriate space.

According to the proposed resolution, the school board intends to fund the district’s share of the cost of a new school through voter approval of bonds or tax measures.

If the district builds a new school, the board will have to go to the community for support, Campbell said.

County real estate records show Sundown Construction LLC purchased the 20-acre tract on Parks Street in May 2021 for an estimated $450,000. Parkwood Estates became the owner of the property in August 2021 but the county’s website does not contain any information on the estimated sales price.

The land has been discussed for residential development in meetings with the Prairie Grove Planning Commission for more than a year and a half. The most recent concept approved by the Parkwood Estates Commission proposed eight single-family lots and 41 townhome lots (82 townhomes total) on 20 acres.

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